Intro to CT Scans & 4 Questions to Ask Your Physician

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

Photo Courtesy: Dana Neely/Stone/Getty Images

A computed tomography (CT) scan, also known as a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, is a procedure that takes X-ray images of certain areas of your body from different angles to create a detailed image of your organs, bones, blood vessels, and other body structures and systems. Doctors use this diagnostic tool to look for internal bleeding, monitor diseases, check for cancerous tumors and help prepare patients for other procedures.

There are several potential factors that may cause you to consider an alternative procedure: CT scans use a small amount of radiation, sometimes the dyes can cause allergic reactions and there’s a risk, though it’s low, of developing cancer. Before you undergo a CT scan, take a look at these questions to think about and ask your healthcare provider.